Throughout my young adult years I lived and traveled in various parts of America; trying on each destination to see if it was a good fit. The desire to move always felt as though it was a magnetic force pulling me to a biological north pole. Once I gained my bearings I would be pulled to a new landscape–sometimes rural and sometimes metropolitan. Both have their merits, but I always seemed to romanticize the small town settings more than the grittiness of the big cities.
Growing up in Dearborn, Michigan, the suburb of Detroit where Henry Ford worked his industrial magic to mass produce automobiles, was a symbolic starting point for my travels. To me, the automobile represented the freedom to finish a working season in Colorado or Nantucket and then move on to another place in search of myself; always sizing up the landscape to see if the soil of say, Chicago would produce an emotional terroir suitable to my taste.
If nature is the purest form of art, then I have finally found it and my place in it. The aquatic and forested geography surrounding Traverse City, Michigan is a four-season stunner. The canvas that the landscape is painted on expresses itself like a sublime expressionist painting. Earthen browns and tentative greens wake up the senses in spring. Clear, freshwater blue and verdant vegetation dominate the summer. Orange, yellow and red colors dance through tree-lined hills in the fall. Deep, white snow blankets all the colors that came before; a cleansing of the palate that is nature here in Northwest Lower Michigan.
The American Midwest is often looked upon as filler between its two coasts; a bunch of seemingly forgetable zip codes. Here on the edge of northern Lake Michigan, one of the largest reservoirs of the freshwater that sustains life on planet earth, a naturally vibrant third coast exists. Subjectivity enters into this personal calculus of fulfillment through nature, but I accept this human condition. The time and effort in finding this place, essentially located in my backyard, adds to the satisfaction of my discovery.